Young Practitioners Hear Benefits of Joining Professional Organizations

Published: June 23, 2021

Natalie Lu Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP New York, New York, USA

Young practitioners can benefit from joining professional organizations in many ways. That was the message of a June 9 virtual event cosponsored by the INTA’s Young Practitioners Committee, the Atlanta IP Inn of Court, and the firms of Gardner Groff Greenwald and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

Lauren Brenner (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, USA) moderated the event. The speakers were Dan Englander (Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, USA), Brad Groff (Gardner Groff Greenwald PC, USA), Derek Hawkins (Amazon, USA), and Katie Sullivan (Whirlpool Properties, Inc., USA).

Developing a genuine relationship is key for networking and business development, according to the speakers. Mr. Groff noted that billable work is rarely generated by simply handing over a business card, not to mention that in-house counsel may not wish to be cornered at networking events with pitches.

Rather, participation in legal professional organizations can help foster more sustainable and long-term relationships. All panelists agreed that this results because members get to know each other through collaboration within an organization by hosting or attending events and managing administrative functions.

Besides business development for attorneys practicing at law firms, Ms. Sullivan said that professional organizations are also helpful to connect in-house counsel with their peers, for them to network and benchmark opinions with each other.

In addition to the benefits for young practitioners to join legal organizations, Mr. Groff and Mr. Hawkins agreed that participating in non-legal professional organizations can also be advantageous. Members of industry-focused organizations, for example, are usually non-legal professionals working in related fields, and they are likely to turn to the lawyers in the organization for assistance with legal problems that they encounter.

The panelists pointed to INTA as a professional organization that connects brand owners and trademark professionals from all over the world. Among the benefits of joining the Association, Mr. Englander said that the Annual Meeting’s educational program covers the latest developments in the trademark world, which enriches young practitioners’ legal knowledge. In addition, the panelists agreed that the Meeting’s networking activities allow for bonding with existing clients, meeting foreign counsel with whom they can potentially collaborate, catching up with former classmates and colleagues, and connecting with new people.

When it comes to picking a professional organization or a committee within an organization, Mr. Groff suggested casting a wide net and selecting something that’s particularly interesting. This also offers the opportunity to bond with professionals who share similar interests and to form genuine relationships.

At an organization with a considerable membership, such as INTA, the speakers noted that joining a committee or task force, or other group within the organization, can help young practitioners stand out and connect with practitioners who share similar experiences or interests. In addition, committee participation allows young practitioners to stay up to date with the latest developments and take a more active role in their related fields.

For INTA members, committee selection application process for the 2022‒2023 Committee Term is open through July 9.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest. 

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